Money saving tips for Indian wedding guests
Indian weddings can be elaborate occasions steeped in culture and tradition. If you've had the pleasure of going to one before you will know that no expense is spared.
Don't fear the sari
Indian weddings are usually full of colour. The bride wears red but female guests can wear practically any other colour like pinks, oranges or even lime greens. The brighter and more embellished with sequins or patterned with embroidery the better! This applies to whatever outfit you choose to go for but traditionally women wear a sari to an Indian wedding.
Saris look like they cost the earth. Some, like those made of georgette or that are heavily detailed, do.
But there are more affordable options. You could rent a sari using Hire a Sari, with outfits available for £50.
But personally I think it is cheaper to buy one, even if you never plan to wear it again. Diya and Suha are great sites full of saris in a variety of colours, and all for under £20. You could actually save money buying a sari rather than a new dress at these prices and look glam for under £50 once the bangles, bag and shoes are thrown in!
For the uninitiated, a sari can be unnerving. That's because the outfit comes as a huge sheet of brightly coloured and embellished fabric. This needs to be wrapped around your body, tucked and pinned to form a dress. But don't fear the sari! If you have no idea how to put one on, try arranging for some help on the day or use this video to follow the basics. See how online videos can save you money for more.
Male guests - ditch the dry cleaning
I think men have it good. Instead of feeling the need to have a different outfit for every occassion, one well-tailored suit usually works for births, marriages and deaths.
The same applies to an Indian wedding, but if you want to get into the spirit of the occasion you could wear some traditional attire. Male guests usually wear sherwani, kurta or jodpuri suits. These consist of long tops and matching trousers that come in a variety of deep, regal colours with embroidery. Men don't go as bright as women but the clothes are still striking.
You could rent an outfit using Well Groomed Formal Hire, which has special discounts for the summer. Here you could get a Silk Sherwani Suit, which usually retails for £175, for just £40. Diya also has a sale on men's outfits where you can buy a suit for under £20 - cheaper than dry cleaning your standard suit for all occassions!
Women are usually invited to a mehndi party the night before the wedding. Traditionally, this is held at the home of the bride and includes female guests from the bride's side. The bride-to-be gets intricate mehndi or henna designs applied to her hands and feet.
Guests can also get some done, but it can cost a pretty penny. Mehndi artists often charge an hourly rate, so choose a modest pattern and have some spare cash on you! Others charge a per hand/foot rate, in which case make the most of it and choose a big, beautiful pattern to show off with your new outfit.
Indian weddings are usually extravagant events. Most I have been too have cost well over £20,000 to put on!
It's not surprising then that bride and groom usually ask for no boxed gifts, which means money in a card. This can be a minefield for guests; you want to make sure you give a reasonable amount, without breaking the bank. If you know a few other people going along, try clubbing together in a card to boost the total.
But if you really can't afford it don't feel pressured - your hosts want your company not your money!
Beat the hoard
Indian weddings usually involve hundreds of guests; one I went to recently had over 200. So finding a nearby hotel with affordable and available rooms was a real struggle.
In order to avoid disappointment and overpriced rooms, try booking as soon as you get your invitation or soon after. Make sure you check whether the money is taken at the time of booking or on the day you arrive, as this is easily forgotten.
Splitting the cost by getting a room with another guest will also deliver savings.
Plan for travel
Travel can be a surprising expense and often slips through the net with the worry of wedding attire, gifts and accommodation.Try sharing the cost of driving with another guest if you know any and factor in extra fuel costs in your budget for the month of the wedding.
If you are using public transport book ahead for savings. Try using National Express for trains or Megabus for coach journeys.
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